TIP # 121, Latest Tyre Tests Across the Red Centre, 4x4 Enthusiasts Take Note:

Submitted: Tuesday, Sep 05, 2006 at 21:16
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Well, the lone Ranger was wrong… Yes the Cooper STT sure does look the part, sort of like some caravans that copy our style. But they did not hold up. In being late on the draw, and still running my good old Standard BFG Muddies, I missed out on a big disappointment !!! The BFG Muddies hold up the best so far, now Number One for fifteen years. I guess I will stay with the good old “tried and true”…

In TIP # 118 “Perils and Positives of Mud Terrains, and a Hidden Danger”, I indicated that I was headed in the direction of the Cooper STT as they looked a lot like the Mickey Thompson Baja Claw, another tried and true famous off road race tyre that makes it across the Baja Peninsula in Mexico; that is such a tyre punisher. Well I am headed for the STTs no more. The first long term test of the Coopers came in after a large Outback crossing. At less than 20,000 kms ST’s were changed out on Warranty due to extreme chipping on gravel and rock, in favour of the STT. Now at 40,000 km it has happened again, and if you gave them to me I would not put the STTs on my tow vehicle.

It looks like the compound formulae in the rubber is wrong, again; and the gravel of roads like the Oodnadatta eats them… Badly… Not just chipping of the tread, but cracking of rock and stone puncture in between the lugs…. They might be just fine, they might still be a good serviceable tyre, but not on my Effie I can assure you. Not even if they were free.. These did not hold up on a Landcruiser, and my Effie would be running a ton heavier.

Years ago, we got bad reports from the Coopers in severe going in the Outback. This new series of ST and STT had my hopes up and I ALMOST BECAME A COOPER FAN!!! Oooooopps, not now… Well, in favour of the Coopers, in this crossing test on a Landcruiser, there was not one flat tyre. And, unlike the results of Coopers in the past, there were no incidents of sidewall staking. But in all fairness, it does not look like they will go more than 40,000- 50,000 kms in the Outback at best, and this Owner estimates only 20-25% was done on gravel tracks.. In all fairness, I had higher hopes than that. In favour: It does look like the new Sidewalls have succeeded in making a much better and stronger tyre for the Outback; I will give them that much credit. Coopers still have an attractive tread pattern, in all fairness it is attractive to severe mud work, and they have improved…. But if you go the Cooper direction, OK, just don’t have high expectations for them lasting for much mileage.. They appear now to be stronger in the sidewall, but they do not have a long live expectancy, and the quote from this unnamed Owner xxxx is “They are a disappointment”…. I agree. They are here now and after looking at them myself here is my judgment: At 40,000 kms, with only 20-25% on gravel roads, they look so bad that I would not bother to remount them if given to me for free. STTs are “out” for the lone Ranger…

My BFGs Muddies have been my choice for 15 years now… I currently have them on two Landcruisers, and have had them on two Effies, an F-350 and my current F-250, and they will remain my first choice until something better comes along…

Regards to all from the lone Ranger,
Semper Fidelis
"The Last Stand In Open Country"

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Reply By: Silver and Tinks - Wednesday, Sep 06, 2006 at 05:01

Wednesday, Sep 06, 2006 at 05:01
why change you already have the best

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Follow Up By: Bushtracker - Wednesday, Sep 06, 2006 at 17:48

Wednesday, Sep 06, 2006 at 17:48
Well Silver and Tinks, Thank you...

And you are right, and I did not change... But my job is R&D for you.... And maybe 500 that follow this Site... And another 500 or more Bushtracker Owners that do not...!! Many new Bushtracker Owners were sniffing around the Coopers Idea, and a half dozen or so had already taken the plunge... I am here to try and help.

When something new is in the wind, I have to do the scouting. Boggers are part of the R&D and test things for us all. I am the hub of all the tests and research, and so my report. Years ago, BFGs had a bad chipping problem on the gravel as well... I mean bad.!! But for some reason it was in the All Terrains more than the MTs.

In my R & D, a lot of the experiments I even do myself, fail miserably. There are many passes through the mountains, some rougher than others, and my job is to try and find the best one. For instance my ongoing research on LEDs, I must have tried 50 by now. Some fail on high voltage of battery chargers on Boost Mode, some have poor quality of light, various failures. I am testing about a dozen as we speak, cycled through Boost many times a day, and running 24 hours 7 days a week.. Only one reading light has passed the R&D of the last two years, and has become standard equipment for us for the past six months or so... The final report after Copeton viewing by Boggers will be on the Owners Forum for general lighting and awning lights...

Such is the R & D of the Ranger, 24/7 Bushtracker Lifestyle...
"The Last Stand In Open Country"

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Reply By: Maric - Thursday, Sep 07, 2006 at 01:58

Thursday, Sep 07, 2006 at 01:58
Re Coopers/BFG's.... Many moons ago I believed all the hype about coopers and bought a set of A/T's (5years) lasted about 20,000 ks and on the edge of the tread the wire was showing out, still had tread but at edge of sidewall stuffed. Took them to dealers to ask for replacement's and was informed they were still ok. Mentioned to them that the police dept if they stopped me would not think the same way but to no avail.
shortly afterwards I swallowed my pride and opened my wallet and purchased some BFG's A/T they have lasted well. Two were replace free of charge after 20,000k;s due to chipping (I was on Gibb River Rd afterall just after the wet season and before the grader :-)) I think I forgot to mention that to the dealer), and the other 2 still going. So far have done 60300k's on first set 5.5mm tread left. Trips were 2 too Gibb River Rd, Mitchell Falls and Kalumbaru. The other two only 1 trip up that way and 41600ks and 6mm tread left. Also no punctures at all pressure around 46psi, and used nitrogen for first trip. regards to all Ric
AnswerID: 569272

Follow Up By: Bushtracker - Thursday, Sep 07, 2006 at 02:18

Thursday, Sep 07, 2006 at 02:18
Hello Maric, lone Ranger here...

We have gotten up to 80,000 plus on BFG Mud Terrains... I think Tracy hit 85,000 on an 80 Series in the 1990's. You would think they would squirm/burn out faster, but no... They also start at a few more mm of tread depth than do the AT.. I am a long term Fan, and they would be on 80% of all Four Wheel Drive Club vehicles in the 1990's at least. Can't comment on the ones in the last six years as I have not gone to the 4x4 Gymkanas or Rallys much anymore, traveling with horses and all..

Anyway, thank you for that, your experience is mainstream and right on track... Just one thing... NITROGEN??? I picked up on that, great for no moisture preservation of buried materials, but tyres??? You got me hooked on that one, why?.... Why Nitrogen in the tyres?

All right, I bit.... Regards, Ranger
"The Last Stand In Open Country"

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Reply By: Deaf Nomad - Thursday, Sep 07, 2006 at 03:25

Thursday, Sep 07, 2006 at 03:25

Can we order BFG Muddies on our BT? Extra? I'm planning to put Muddies on my troopy as well.

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Follow Up By: Deaf Nomad - Thursday, Sep 07, 2006 at 03:47

Thursday, Sep 07, 2006 at 03:47

I jumped the gun a bit too soon as I have just read tip #118 about Muddies. I believe the Standard tyres on the BT are the Bridgestone AT 693 (same as what we had before?) How would they go on rough roads such as Gibb River Rd?

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Follow Up By: Bushtracker - Thursday, Sep 07, 2006 at 20:06

Thursday, Sep 07, 2006 at 20:06
While you can order BFG Muddies on, and only pay the difference in the cost of the tyres, I would not do it... It is a real waste to run such traction tyres on the van, and the muddies will not grip as well on the van in wet weather on the bitumen... A waste as far as I am concerned..

Matching BFG Muddies on Truck and Van: Silly move. I did not bother doing it again on my new van.... And am running the D-693 on my own van now. Also the Muddies wear out faster on the van as you slightly scrub going around corners a bit.. Maybe the most I would do is match up one of the spares, but even then probably a waste.

One morer thing to note if I have not won you over to the idea yet: The D-693 has the same sidewall strength and HEAVIER steel under the tread than do the BFGs. Since I started the tests on the D-693, I ran them on a Cruiser, then 6 of them on a 20' 6 tonne container trailer I built, I put 6 on my last Ford a 1993 F-350 4x4 dually rear, towing a 29' goose neck horse trailer, still have the 6x6 trailer with them on, have them on my own van... AND NEVER EVEN HAD A FLAT..!! They are a tough tyre. Heavier steel under the tread, like maybe double, see the cut tyre samples in my Office when you visit. Lack of traction in wet or off road is the only reason they are not on my tow vehicle. They are a really touch tyre, but just for the van with the semi-AT tread pattern, not much of an off-road tyre, not at all, but very tough!

Best Advice from the Ranger, and I do it tougher than most out there, being crazy and all...


"The Last Stand In Open Country"

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Reply By: Maric - Thursday, Sep 07, 2006 at 03:51

Thursday, Sep 07, 2006 at 03:51
for Loneranger, the reason I have used nitrogen (providing I dont go on soft sand and have to let my tyres down) is that they run cooler and they don't leak air. With normal air, after a while it actually leaks thru the tyre, but the N component doesn't only the O2 (oxygen) does. With your muddies a couple of quick questions ... how much tread left at 80k kilometers and are they much noisier than normal AT's my AT's are heaps quieter than the coopers
.... ric
AnswerID: 569274

Follow Up By: Black Cobra - Thursday, Sep 07, 2006 at 05:01

Thursday, Sep 07, 2006 at 05:01
I used to use nitrogen in my SS ute also and they do run a lot cooler and preserve the tyre better. I read somewhere just recently on a website somewhere I think that you can now get a portable nitrogen tank like a gas cylinder that you can re inflate your tyres with nitrogen but the cost of the cylinders in two sizes were not cheap and just another thing to carry.

Will try and find the site again and inform if found.

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Follow Up By: Mark & Yvonne - Thursday, Sep 07, 2006 at 06:37

Thursday, Sep 07, 2006 at 06:37
G'day guys,

With due respect I am having trouble understanding why, in a 4WD tyre, nitrogen is going to have the advantages claimed in your posts. Remember atmospheric air is 78% Nitrogen. Nitrogen is used in motorsport but that is to avoid having droplets of water in the tyre which progressively vapourise as tyre temperatures increase causing unstable tyre pressure changes which are much more critical in the racing context than they will ever be in 4WD tyres.As for oxygen leaking through the tyres and Nitrogen not leaking....I can't see it and would be grateful for a scientifically based explanation. I am happy to be proven wrong and am keen to learn.

Regards, Mark
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Follow Up By: Bushtracker - Thursday, Sep 07, 2006 at 20:18

Thursday, Sep 07, 2006 at 20:18
Mark and Yvonne,
and Maric, and Boggers in general...

Now that I have been fair and heard the reasoning, I cannot see why anyone would bother... Look, in all fairness, you should carry and tire pressure gauge and air compressor in your vehicle at all times. You should lighten the tyre pressure off road on the corrugation. You should periodically check the tyre pressure anyway when you are on the road. This is maybe a once a week part of just safe maintenance going around the van having a look at things with a cup of coffee.

If you are seriously traveling, the tyre pressure yes of course will go down a few psi per month.. So what... In serious traveling you are going to vary your own tyre pressure up and down and check them a couple of times in that same interval. Particularly on the van... Lighter tyre pressure means less wear on van and contents, without a doubt. So Boggers, in general, my judgement is the nitrogen concept is a bit of unnecessary trouble for nought.

No offence Maric, and I am open to ideas, but you need to vary the tyre pressure on the van and tow vehicle so many times as you travel, that it makes the nitrogen concept redundant... Sort of unnecessary trouble.

The only time I have seen where it could make pratical sense is Glacier Crawlers, that run Super Singles at about 10 psi over the ice. When they roll a tyre of a rim crawling over ice outcrops, they blow Butane into the tyre and light it to BLOW the tyre back out onto the rim safety bead... EXTREME... VERY EXTREME.. And no, I have not done this one... Saw it on the Discovery channel.... Ha!!! And there is one of them here in Australia that I had a look at, a tyre Distributor in Brisbane had it for advertizing. The Cruiser was WAY UP THERE... Good for nothing but may Dune Crawling... Ha!

Best Regards to all, lone Ranger...
"The Last Stand In Open Country"

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Reply By: Maric - Thursday, Sep 07, 2006 at 07:22

Thursday, Sep 07, 2006 at 07:22
Sorry Mark and Yvonne as I am not a Physics Scientist I cant oblige with a paper on the reasons why Nitrogen does not leak thru walls of tyres but as far as I understand from my useage at vineyard and farm it is heavier than air, same as Co2, suggest you could find out answer on Google Search, however for our useage here after our Kimberley trips of over 20,000k's the tyre pressure did not change through out the trip.
ps, I believe that according to my cousin who used to fly for Ansett it is used in tyres of the Airbus and 747's
regards Ric
AnswerID: 569275

Reply By: Noosa Fox - Saturday, Sep 09, 2006 at 06:09

Saturday, Sep 09, 2006 at 06:09
We have 2 Cooper ST on the front of our F250 and because of a recall earlier this year could not get another 3 so settled for Cooper STT which have a much more agressive pattern that goes up the side walls.

Like Steve has said above, one of the Cooper ST's has chips in the outside lugs and another vehicle we saw at Chambers Pillar with them had similar chuncks missing on 2 or 3 of his tyres from rock tracks.

The Cooper STT are primarily an off bitumen tyre and no milage garuantee is given. We had a sharp rock penetrate a new tyre at 800 km old, but have now travelled nearly 20,000 km without further incident and mostly on off bitumen roads. They handle very well when deflated with such a wide tread pattern.

At Lawn Hill I spoke to an Opposite Lock tour guide and they are very happy with the less agressive Cooper AT range.

My Cooper STT will be lucky to get 50,000 but I took the Bridgestone A/Ts off after about 40,000 km, so not sure what to put on next time.
Enjoying the friendship of BOG members

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Reply By: Bush Bratz - Saturday, Sep 09, 2006 at 22:29

Saturday, Sep 09, 2006 at 22:29
Hi Folks, this is my first encounter with the Boggers group -after many months of decision making about which brand of van to buy , we have finally paid our deposit on a 19ft B/T.
So you can expect some correspondence from us.
I would like to share our experiences with tyres on our troopie--a 2001 T/D 78 series.
I kicked off with Cooper STs and had exactly the same experiences as other people --chipping of lugs and even more worrying -cracks at the base of the tread which travelled down the side walls a bit --not nice -- ok , I live in the Pilbara - an area renowned for being harsh on tyres--dirt roads, sharp rocks , and high road /ambient temperatures--all very hard on tyres. The local Cooper agent doesnt give any warranty on Coopers here--no matter what the Cooper ads say--NO WARRANTY WHATSOEVER! That in itself should indicate just how much confidence the Cooper agents have in Cooper tyres. This should have caused alarm bells to ring for me but I was determined to get Coopers--ah well !
So I bought my Coopers in Perth and got a warranty-Australia wide--crazy heh?
Alas ! those STs lasted only 5,000Ks before the trouble started and living here in Karratha, I had a hard time convincing the Cooper importers to honour their warranty-they accused me of not having the correct tyre pressures and of poor driving techniques--as I am an instructor for the local 4wd club and have been driving 4WDs since the days of series 2 Land rovers and Austin Gypsies [--remember that one ?], I would say I am not a novice -I dont claim to know it all though, I am always learning and I have learned a few things about Cooper tyres.
I eventually got a set of STTs out of Coopers and drove from Karratha to Darwin and back towing an Ultimate camper trailer--No chipping this time and no cracks either BUT those tyres wore down almost 7 mm on that trip--ok , I did some off road tracks too --around some of the National Parks and the Bungles etc and I always vary my tyre pressures according to road /track conditions using the "4 psi gain rule" but those Coopers just kept wearing away -fast!
A friend with another troopie came to look at my tyres just before he did the same trip and decided against Coopers -he bought Goodyear Wrangler MTRs and after towing his camper trailer virtually along the same route with a 44gal drum of diesel in the back of his troopie as well as a huge box of tools etc ,his tyres looked like new when he returned.
I am currently questioning every B/T owner I meet regarding ideas/ modifications , recommendations etc and checking their tyres as well --most run the B/T supplied Bridgestone Dueller 693s in LT285/75R16 but I question the sense of this. They are larger in diameter than 750/16 so my speedo would be out if I fitted them to my troopie [I prefer to have all wheels interchangeable and to keep spares down to 2 ], they are very wide -giving great floatation in sand etc but could be a problem with fuel economy--sure they are strong but so are Dueller 661s in 235/85R16--a narrower tyre for fuel economy and very strong-load range of E and speed rating of 120kph--adequate? and they cost less! Also , Bridgstone say that the 285s are not readily available in all areas around Oz--Hmmm! and they say if you have big problems , you could easily get 750/16s anywhere in an emergency but they will only fit onto a 7" rim not an 8"- food for thought ?
Another tyre I am investigating is the Wrangler Silent Armour type with Kevlar -at this stage they look promising -a bit dearer than the Duellers but a good tread pattern for both on and off road --always a compromise -- but these two look good to me --has anyone else tried them ? Any comments on the rubber wear rate on either type ?
I used to run BFG A/Ts on my earlier troopie with good wear rate and excellent performance out of them but side wall damage around here was a problem.
I agree with the Ranger that it is a bit crazy fitting aggressive tyres to the van when they are just rolling along but the advantage of only carrying 2 spares [for weight reduction] rather than 2 for the van and 2 different ones for the vehicle is a strong argument.
I am also fitting Smart Tyre devices to all tyres on the troopie and they will be fitted to the B/T --they will give me constant read out of pressures and temperatures on every tyre on the road --the way to go ?
Sorry this has been such a lengthy response but thats me --I tend to get carried away with subjects that concern me [and my wallet]
Aljoy [Alan]
AnswerID: 569277

Follow Up By: Bushtracker - Monday, Sep 11, 2006 at 17:53

Monday, Sep 11, 2006 at 17:53
Hello Aljoy,
lone Ranger here... Minor correction of material in your Post:

"most run the B/T supplied Bridgestone Dueller 693s in LT285/75R16 but I question the sense of this. They are larger in diameter than 750/16 so my speedo would be out ..."

Aljoy, you may have seen 285s, custom ordered for a van... But our supplied size is 265/75 R-16.... We do not run any split rims or 750-16s either, as you have trouble wearing hard on tubes when you let tyre pressure down... I know, I was a Road Gripper fan in the 1980's all over the Outback... Yes they are cheap, but it is a major job for a small nail or screw puncture which about 98% of all flats are. A majority of Outback travel has switched over to Tubeless, where you can just pull a screw or nail and glue up a plug and put it in the hole and the flat is fixed without even getting out a jack.... Back in the old days before I converted, I was out goat hunting south of Morven in the Qld Outback, and lost two tyres unrepairable by 10 oclock int he morning! Limped back 90 kms tot he bitumen with no spare in my Troop Carrier. I then switched to Tubeless BFGs on my Troopy. (I have had three Troopies since the 80's). The D-693? So tough, on a 6 tonne trailer 6x6, on a 1993 F-350, on my current van, on my Wifes Cruiser years ago when I was testing them, in all the years I tested and am still running them on the 6x6... I have never even had a flat. My 6x6 trailer is run to the dump at about 4.5 tonnes to 5 tonnes, full of junk, never had a flat!!! Check them out in my office, they are tough, not for traction on the tow vehicle but tops on the vans...

One more thing to think about, as far as I know the D-693 is the only one with the heavy 1500 Denier layers in the sidewall, and the heavy steel under the tread. You need to see the cut sections of tyres in my office to see the difference, but it is impressive. It is about twice the under tread steel of the BFG. Make sure the 235 tyre you are talking about is built the same, I don't think it is, it used to be that only the D-693 had all of the extra reinforcement... Check it out first...

On the Wrangler MTR, they are getting some favorable reports. Last I checked they were a bit expensive for what you get. I am sticking with my tried and true BFG Muddies, on two Cruisers and the Ford. (Big family)

Regards, Ranger
"The Last Stand In Open Country"

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Reply By: TRB60 - Monday, Sep 11, 2006 at 06:13

Monday, Sep 11, 2006 at 06:13
I have also had problems with cooper tyres a/t;s would not touch them again, they are advertised as a top product but any dealings with the importer/distributor is a non event, no after sales service whatsoever.According to one tyre dealer who has been to America he said they are a second rate tyre over there.I will be going back to bfg mud terrains again having had 3 sets on my 60 series, any problems are attended to by the dealer.

Regards Terry Bridges.
AnswerID: 569278

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